Peru drug suspects face 18 years

Peruvian prosecutors have warned that a British and an Irish woman charged with trying to smuggle cocaine worth £1.5 million out of the country could face up to 18 years in jail if they are convicted.

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Michaella McCollum's family prepare for Peru visit

The family of Michaella McCollum, left, could visit Peru soon. Credit: Reuters

Relatives of one of two women arrested on suspicion of trying to smuggle cocaine worth £1.5 million out of Peru are preparing to visit her in prison.

The solicitor working for Michaella McCollum, 20, said: "Mr Peter Madden, lawyer for Michaella McCollum, is currently dealing with urgent matters pertaining to Michaella's situation in Peru and making arrangements for family visits."

The Northern Irish woman and fellow suspect, Scot Melissa Reid, both 20, face a maximum of 15 years in prison if convicted, a Peruvian prosecutor's office in Callao, near Lima, has said.

Prosecutors warn Peru pair could face 18 years in jail

Melissa Reid and Michaela McCollum appeared in court in Lima today. Credit: Reuters

Michaella McCollum and Melissa Reid could face up to 18 years in prison if convicted, Peruvian prosecutors have warned.

The pair have re-appeared in court after being charged last night after 11kg of cocaine was allegedly found in their luggage at Lima airport two weeks ago.

The pair heard that they could face up to 18 years in prison. Credit: Reuters

Both women say they were forced to carry the shipment against their will. Peruvian prosecutors said the crime carried a maximum penalty of 15-18 years in prison.

In a statement, the ministry said: "It should be noted that the prosecution has gathered sufficient evidence to suspect the alleged responsibility of both people."

Read: British and Irish women held in Peru appear in court

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Peru lawyer: 'They are serving a prison sentence'

Peter Madden, lawyer for Michaela McCollum, has criticised the conditions the 20-year-old is being held in, along with 20-year-old Melissa Reid. Speaking to Sky News he said he has a number of concerns for the two young women.

I have a number of concerns about the conditions. They are far below minimum standards. They are trying to separate the girls, which I am concerned about, as at least at the moment, they have been keeping each others spirits up.

Both girls have been interviewed at length, seven hours separately, and both girls gave very precise details of their ordeal.

Innocent or guilty, they are serving a prison sentence. There is no bail here, and that is a concern.

Peru drug suspects face 'really harsh conditions'

Two women who have been charged with attempting to smuggle £1.5 million worth of cocaine out of Peru, are in for "really, really harsh conditions" according to the head of a prison charity.

Pauline Crowe, Chief Executive of Prisoners Abroad, told Daybreak the women would have to buy their own food and could not expect medical support.

Prosecutors: Peru drug suspects formally charged

Two women arrested on suspicion of trying to smuggle cocaine worth £1.5 million out of Peru have been formally charged, prosecutors have said.

Michaella McCollum, 20, from Dungannon, Co Tyrone, in Northern Ireland, and Melissa Reid, 20, from Glasgow, face a maximum prison sentence of 15 years if convicted, the prosecutor's office in Callao, near Lima added.

Peru drug suspects expected to be charged

Two women arrested on suspicion of trying to smuggle cocaine worth £1.5 million out of Peru are expected to be charged today, according to prosecutors.

It is believed Michaella McCollum, 20, from Dungannon, Co Tyrone, in Northern Ireland, and Melissa Reid, 20, from Glasgow, will then be taken to prison to await trial, a spokeswoman for the prosecutors' office said.

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Lawyer not told if Peru suspects have been charged

Peter Madden, the Northern Irish lawyer representing Michaela McCollum, said he is not sure whether his client has been charged.

Speaking outside a detention centre in Lima, he said the two women "don't know what is going to happen" and that charges have not been communicated to him, or his Peruvian counterpart, but he suspects charges have been brought.

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